Spotlight Fish: Freshwater Tropical Fish

Among the most common type of fish people keep are freshwater tropical fish of any given species – Cichlids, Guppies, Barbs, Tetras, Plecos, Livebearers, Bettas, and Gouramis are just a few of the many tropical fish that make great additions to a freshwater tank. Despite the necessity for warmer water temperatures, these fish are generally low maintenance, making them the perfect choice for seasoned fish keepers or the first-time fish owners alike.

As you probably guessed by the “tropical” designation, these fish need warm water environments to thrive and stay healthy. This means that one of the most important pieces of equipment for your freshwater tropical tank will be a heater. There are many suitable heater options for aquariums, so select one that fits in your tank well and is easily adjustable. Most tropical fish do best in a range of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but be sure to research the best temperature for your specific fish species, and use and check an aquarium thermometer frequently to ensure water temperatures are comfortable for your fish.

Tropical fish are most commonly community fish, meaning they are kept in aquariums with several other fish that do well in the same water conditions. With this in mind, you will want to select a 10 to 20 gallon aquarium at the smallest when starting a new tropical fish tank to ensure that your fish have plenty of space to move and are not living in toxic conditions. You’ll also likely want to invest in some type of home testing kit for regularly testing your water parameters, such as the API® FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT. Test kits are usually cheap and accurate, and work great for testing freshwater aquarium conditions. Some key levels to keep an eye on each week are pH, nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia levels, all of which should be kept within the appropriate range for a healthy aquatic environment.

When it comes to feeding, there are several varieties of food available specifically to meet the nutritional needs of tropical fish. API® offers a flake formula and a pellet formula for tropical fish, as well as a pellet formulated specially for smaller tropical fish (API® TROPICAL MINI PELLETS). Which type of food you select will depend upon your fish’s preference, as both pellets and flakes are excellent sources of protein and nutrition for your fish.

Tropical community fish are a great selection for first-time fish owners, or for the most seasoned of fish keepers! If you regularly care for your tank and your fish, you will find keeping fish to be a relaxing, fun hobby.

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